|Today’s aesthetic patient does not want to look good . . . they expect to look fantastic! These patients have high treatment expectations and are willing to pay for great results even in a difficult economic climate. Let me echo that again: patients are willing to pay for great results. But, the results and the experience must be extraordinary. This all begins with the critical aesthetic consult. I believe that the consult is the single differentiating factor between thriving practices and those that struggle. I continue to be amazed (and disappointed) in the lack of time and effort, many practices dedicate to the consult.
Understanding a patient’s cosmetic goals goes a long way to achieving complete patient satisfaction and long term loyalty. The main purpose of all aesthetic consults is to find the “Real Reason” why your patient wants to look better —it almost always has very little to do with the initial stated reason. When in fact you find this reason, it yields a raw emotional response from the patient. If you can evoke that emotional response, you are on the threshold creating a loyal patient for life, but this takes time, effort, and good listening skills. As I’ve said many times, it’s about paying attention to the details.
Always try to avoid the temptation to prejudge the patient. It is important to understand that it’s not their hormone level or the size of their wallet. It’s the wiring of their DNA; some patients are just wired for aesthetics. Those that are, will seek your services and if satisfied beyond their own expectations, will pay happily for them.
In every patient consult, first ask the patient to identify their facial features that they like. Tastefully point out what you see as their positive features and congratulate them on these great genetics. Then, with their permission, honestly and carefully show them the issues that need to be addressed. I call it “Face Whispering.”
Patients often have a specific cosmetic concern but rarely see other areas in need of treatment. I call this mono- or selective focus. To fully engage the patient in a successful discussion on full face reflation that will yield the best result, you must first convince the patient to look beyond their single concern and describe the face in a three-dimensional way.
As part of my blueprint to the consult I also find that showing patients their baseline photographs is very effective in gaining their confidence. I have a dedicated camera room and take many pictures daily. I show patients their baseline photos from all views so they can see the whole face. In addition, I give patients an assignment to bring in a youthful picture of themselves, say in their early twenties. By comparing this youthful photo with their baseline, I’m able to discuss harmony, balance and symmetry, and identify for them areas that require attention. It is important to tell patients that the goal is not to make them look “20 again,” rather to restore some of their natural features to look great for their age. This whole exercise helps patients understand why we look at and treat the whole face.
Simply put, the consult is integral to the success of your practice. If you truly want to take your practice to the next level, improve your patient consultation style; dedicate more focused time to your patient in order to understand his/her expectations and desires; carefully transition them to focus on the whole face; and finally, incorporate the most innovative products and techniques into practice. Earn their trust and the right to treat them, create an extraordinary result and watch the barrier of price disappear.
Article by B. Kent Remington, MD, FRCP
Co-Founder, The Aesthetic BluePrint
This Article is brought to you Courtesy of Dr. Mark Bishara and The Paragon Plastic Surgery & Med Spa